2936 Tasting Notes

90
drank Wen Shan Bao Zhong by Butiki Teas
2936 tasting notes

Ahh, this is an absolutely delicious tea. I grabbed it today thinking it was a dark oolong (yeah, didn’t read the name carefully), and felt silly when I realized it wasn’t… but it was a perfect selection for me today. I steeped it for a bit longer than recommended, as I prefer a stronger flavour, and I think I got it bang on. The aroma is of sweet rock sugar and a bit vegetal (much like Verdant’s Dragonwell-Style Laoshan Green?), but the flavour is sweet, light, vegetal classic pouchong, so with that lovely oolong flavour that envelops your mouth and lingers as an aftertaste. Delicious. The only thing that would make this better would be not having a headache, which I think is because I let myself waaaayyyyy oversleep today.

Had my mom try this one, and not too surprisingly, she thought it was quite pleasant, and went back for a second sip. She made the comment that she seems to have enjoyed all the Butiki teas she has so far tried… I’m not surprised at all :)

ETA: Second infusion (2 min/190C) was given to my mom. I think it was still pretty good, though a touch light. I dumped the leaves out after though, as they had little aroma left.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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80
drank Root Beer by Simpson & Vail
2936 tasting notes

This smells so strongly like root beer, it’s crazy! And the flavour is the most authentic root beer flavour I’ve tried in a tea yet. I’m drinking this cold because I left it for quite a while, and I think it’s great this way, but I should try it hot as well.

The only downside to this tea is that although I like root beer, I don’t think this is a tea I’d want to drink too often.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
CHAroma

Even more authentic than Butterbeer? That’s hard to believe.

Kittenna

I am drinking a cup of Butterbeer right now, and yep, I think S&V’s wins on that front! The Butterbeer is more caramelly and… sophisticated, IMO, while the S&V version is much more like pop. Both blow the DavidsTea version away though.

CHAroma

Interesting. Thanks for the tip!

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70
drank Coconut Cream Pie by Butiki Teas
2936 tasting notes

Hmm. I think I may have left my sample of this a little too long. Neither the dry nor brewed tea have much aroma at all, even though there was quite a generous-seeming amount of tea in my little sample baggie (thanks Stacy!)

Luckily, the flavour is a bit better than the aroma – I can taste quite a bit of coconut, which lingers nicely after the sip. Unfortunately… coconut is about all I can taste, along with hints of the rooibos base, which imparts almost a sourness. It does remind me quite a bit of coconut pouchong with a different base, though, coconut-flavour-wise!

I can’t say that I’ve yet found a coconut rooibos that I like, and I don’t think this will be the one either! Ah well!!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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83

I admit that I picked this tea up a bit on a whim. I was curious, but the one blueberry-flavoured rooibos I’ve previously tried was vile, and so there were a few bad associations with it. However, this one has creme. And excellent reviews. And then, I needed to round out a second Try Me pack…. so onto my list it went!

Immediately once I opened the packet, I knew I’d made a good decision – this tea smells like real blueberries. Real, creamy, delicious blueberries! This delicious aroma is maintained post-infusion, and has permeated my room (which is surprising, given that I have a very strongly flavoured Root Beer black tea in an adjacent cup).

The flavour, though milder than I would like, is creamy and does taste like fresh blueberries. No off flavours! The rooibos is really not an issue here at all, which is great! I would perhaps use more tea next time (2-2.5 tsp per cup instead of 1.5) to intensify the flavour, but this is pretty enjoyable as is. Another excellent evening tea, and another hit from Della Terra!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Indigobloom

Only issue I have with blueberry teas is hey tend to get a little gross after a few months!

Kittenna

Or ones with rooibos do at least! Hoping this one lasts!

Indigobloom

def ones with rooibos. Also the Blueberry jam from Davids, that one was organic though. I imagine that means it spoiled faster

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88

So, I was quite curious about the base of the Creamy Eggnog tea (yes, even before trying it!), so had to order this one as well during the Black Friday sale!

Brewed up, the liquor is quite a light beigey-yellow, which darkens a bit as it sits. The aroma is faint lightly of a creamy green tea, that is, somewhat vegetal and distinctly like tea! Haha.

Although I definitely didn’t underleaf according to the instructions (2 tsp/8 oz.; I measured out a generous 2 tsp of the wirey leaf and then ran out of hot water, so it was shorted by probably 2 oz.), the flavour I’m getting here is lighter than I expected, given that I could definitely pick it out from the eggnog tea in spite of the flavourings. However, what I can taste is delicious, light, and creamy, with absolutely no astringency whatsoever. A delicate and delicious cup of tea. The flavour seems to develop a bit as the tea cools, so I would definitely recommend drinking this one more lukewarm than hot, at least once! I seem to recall that was the case with Creamy Eggnog as well, so that’s unsurprising.

All in all, a fairly tasty, light and creamy green, and one that I’ll enjoy finishing off!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

neat!! I’m glad someone thought to review the base tea, cuz it wasn’t me! haha

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82

I am not sure I’ve ever had a tea that smells quite so true to a baked good! This tea smells exactly like the coffeecake I’ve had before, complete with oaty/brown sugary topping. The cinnamon is lightly present, and I can imagine that I’m smelling apple, although it’s not a predominant aroma.

The tea doesn’t taste quite as good as it smells (mom agreed), and I’m really not getting the apple, but it does taste quite cakey and with that light cinnamon flavour, which is quite delicious. I would like it to be a bit sweeter and/or creamier, and have more fruitiness, but this really isn’t bad at all! I imagine that if this was to be sweetened, it would be bang on coffeecake flavour.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

you need to smell the almond cake tea i tried…

QueenOfTarts

Sounds yummy!

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61
drank Gooseberry by Simpson & Vail
2936 tasting notes

Thanks Indigobloom for letting me thief a bit of this before I hand it off to you!

So from the description, I’m expecting pretty much a black currant-flavoured tea. Which have been rather hit or miss for me – Jane Austen Mafia from Adagio was quite good, although it also has a creaminess, but I dislike 52teas’ blends containing black currant.

The flavour of the cup is more on the side of the 52teas’ flavouring, somewhat candy-like but less artificial. Definitely kind of perfumey, which I don’t think gooseberries actually are. (Funny observation: I think last time I ate gooseberries, they were rather tart, so my mouth is currently watering like crazy in anticipation of eating tart fruits, even though I know the tea will be nothing like that! I should note that this also is more of a ‘dilute-the-tartness’ thing, than an ‘om-nom-nom’ thing. Silly salivary glands!)

The flavour of the cup is milder than I anticipated. Not very fruity at all. The “gooseberry/black currant” flavour is there, as is the perfuminess, but they’re quite mild. This is definitely not an in-your-face flavoured tea!

Certainly not my cup of tea, but I imagine it may be for those who like this sort of fruitiness!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

Eeeep! perfumey makes me worry. After the ripe raspberry I bought from Kally :/

Kittenna

It’s no more perfumey than 52teas’ Black Currant Bai Mu Dan! And it’s quite bearable. Much moreso than the violet, which I still was able to drink.

Indigobloom

ah well that’s good! phew.

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83

Although I chose to order this as part of one of my Try Me packs, it never seemed to grab me as a tea I wanted to try until tonight, when I decided it was high time for a bit more progress on my new teas (yeah, the ones I received while here, hahahahaha).

I cannot believe how incredibly delicious this tea smells! Like the sweet, caramelized sugar crust around the edges of a pineapple upside-down cake that I used to break off and eat (and get in trouble over). I didn’t want the rest of the cake, just that part! Anyways, this tea smells like that. Dry and brewed. It’s incredibly strong, and soooo intoxicating!

Unfortunately, the flavour doesn’t quite live up to the aroma. When the tea was still warm, there was a strong flat/cardboardy/stale note right after the initial sip, which then faded into delicious caramelized sugar flavours and perhaps a hint of fruitiness (I really taste no pineapple here, to be honest). I found the stale flavour quite disconcerting – it was almost as if I was just tasting the black base, quite weak and stale, before the flavouring hit my tongue. This phenomenon has happened to me before, and it seems to be unique to flavoured teas (so it makes me think it’s something do with flavouring in some way). Either way, the tea has now cooled, and this flatness no longer makes an appearance, it’s just delicious caramelly goodness.

I’m a bit disappointed that I can’t really pick out any pineapple here, but the strong caramelly flavours will make this a great one for the travel mug (although I only have enough for one serving left!)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
Indigobloom

interesting!! sad about the pineapple though

Kittenna

It was! Not what I expected, and I probably wouldn’t order it again (gah, I am craving Cashew Turtle SO BADLY right now), but tasty enough!

Indigobloom

do you have any cashew turtle left, or is it at home?

Kittenna

There are a few cups’ worth left, but yeah, I didn’t bring it with me. Tried to bring mostly teas that my mom would enjoy, plus a few flavoured things for me. And then of course I received both a Della Terra and the S&V order while I was here (they so far have all been too flavoured for my mom, sadly, although she didn’t try the Ginger Pear which I specifically wanted her to try, haha).

Indigobloom

There’s still time!! right? :)

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86
drank Ginger Pear by Simpson & Vail
2936 tasting notes

When I opened the bag of this tea, I was greeted with the most amazing pear smell. I had been expecting ginger to predominate (given that S&V has a pear black, and ginger is first in the name here), however given that one of my “quests” is to find a great pear tea, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if this was more pear than ginger!

The aroma of the brewed cup is true to the dry tea… and crazily enough, so is the flavour!! (I say crazily enough because how often does the flavour actually match the aroma?! Not nearly enough, IMO.) Ohhhhh man, this one is good, guys! If you like sweet pears? BUY THIS TEA!! The tea leaves a lingering pear-flavoured sweetness in your mouth which is absolutely divine. I’ve gotta admit that my hopes have been far exceeded here, and the likelihood of me placing another order from S&V in the far-too-near future are rising. I’ll admit that it’s a little on the perfumey side, but then again, so are pears. The perfuminess does remind me a little bit of the Violet tea I just drank, so perhaps it’s a flavouring component.

Oh… and there’s no discernible ginger here. So if you’re looking for ginger pear, I suggest you either add your own, or buy a different tea.

ETA: Prior to the second infusion, I sniffed the infuser basket and definitely smelled ginger, which also was noticeable in the brewed tea alongside the pear. My guess is that a) the strong pear flavouring masks the ginger in the first infusion and b) perhaps the ginger needs a bit more time to infuse into the cup?? Either way, this second infusion, in half the water, was quite pleasant!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

I can’t even remember if this was on my lifeppst of things…likely nt but ill happily steal a sample :)

Indigobloom

meeeee to!!! :P

Vortegne

Wow, pear..Sounds amazing, as I’m not a huge fan of ginger :)

Kittenna

Nopers, neither of you had it on the list (I looked last night out of curiousity). I’ll definitely bring samples though!

Kittenna

Vortegne – if I were you, I’d probably stick with the plain pear tea if you decide to order, although the ginger is definitely not prominent here!

CrowKettle

That sounds amazing, although I would probably add some ginger as I like mine zappy! Ginger pear is one of my favourite tea flavour pairings.

MissLena

I love ginger and pear, this sounds absolutely delicious to me :D

Kittenna

I really wish there was more ginger! The pear was so delicious, I think it could be amazing!

MissLena

Mmm I might have to place an order and try some of S&Vs pear teas, looks like they have a few of them, and you could always add in some fresh ginger to see what happens!

Kittenna

Yeah – I’m really kicking myself for somehow missing the flavoured teas with bases other than black!! I see there’s a pear green – that could be amazing…

MissLena

Mmmm yes it’d be so light and fresh, I need a good pear tea, I haven’t started the hunt yet..but it might have to begin here :D

Kittenna

Yes – as long as the green base is a good one! I would love it if Stacy @ Butiki used something like her Organic Huangshan Mao Feng to make a pear tea…. that could be amazing. DavidsTea’s Sencha Pear has a nice flavour, but it’s quite finicky, and not pleasant if at all oversteeped. Butiki’s Exotic pear, which I’ve gathered is being discontinued, contains anise (or another related flavour), and I couldn’t get any pear from it. Caramelized Pear from Art of Tea, I think, is a good pear-flavoured rooibos, but I much prefer actual tea bases.

MissLena

I’ll have to check those out! I’ve been adding a bunch of Butiki teas to my cupboard so I imagine an order to them will occur in the near future :) , I should check out the DavidsTea one for sure too as it’s local, haha, like I need more teas though!

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57
drank Violet by Simpson & Vail
2936 tasting notes

So apparently I’m the first person to review this tea!

Anyhow, the aroma is very…. interesting. It smells almost soapy, but not, just more in the sense that the aroma is one that one would more likely associate with bath products as opposed to tea. Flavourwise it’s flowery and sweet (not sugary, though), and I suppose, “spring-y” as the description mentions. Quite an interesting aroma. My lack of palate training is definitely hurting me here! The black tea base is fairly unassuming, strong enough to back the violet flavour well, but not interfering with the flavouring. There’s also very little astringency at the recommended infusion time of 3 minutes.

Overall, probably not a tea I’d re-purchase, but certainly one that has helped to satiate my curiousity as to what “violet flavour” tastes/smells like!

ETA: Second infusion is pretty similar.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
darky

thats a first tea smelling like soap, is that a good or bad or just weird thing? :p

CHAroma

At the very least, weird.

Kittenna

I’ve had teas with coconut and various other ingredients smell/taste soapy before. This one was more just soooo similar to a fragrance used for bath products, not tea, that it threw me. It wasn’t actually soapy (I would have had to dump it out). Just totally not a tea flavour to me!!

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Bio

I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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